Cool Tech Trends Changing Guest Experience and Expectations

Staying relevant and competitive in the hospitality industry is a constant race. You can’t find a winning formula and then sit back and expect to stay on top. Expectations and trends are continually changing, driven in large part by emerging innovations in technology. That’s why keeping your finger on the pulse of hospitality tech is critical to understanding the state of the industry. Even if you’re not ready to adopt them, tech trends tell you a lot about the typical consumer. With that in mind, here are some current tech trends that are currently changing the guest experience and will likely shape the expectations of the future.

Smart glass

Smart glass (or switchable glass) technology has been around for a while but is just beginning to pick up steam in hotel design. Notable adopters include the W San Francisco, Hilton Universal City in Los Angeles, and Eccleston Square Hotel in London.

There are different types of glass used (electrochromic, photochromic, thermo-chronic, suspended particles, micro-blind, and polymer-dispersed liquid crystal), but all adjust their opacity in response to changes in the environment and via commands from a mobile device.

For windows >> Installing smart windows is often done in the name of sustainability. The tint of the glass can be adjusted to account for the current use of the room, and the conditions outside—making guests and staff more comfortable and improving energy efficiency. In fact, Andersen Windows suggest they can reduce your energy expenditure by up to 25% (not to mention eliminating the need to buy blinds and curtains).

For bathrooms >> You have to fit a lot in a relatively small space when designing hotel rooms. But you still want it to feel spacious and comfortable for your guests. Glass-walled bathrooms are an excellent way of accomplishing just that. And by using smart glass technology, you don’t need to sacrifice privacy to make the room look bigger. When necessary, guests can simply press a button to make the walls instantly opaque.

Virtual assistants

Amazon recently announced a new virtual assistant specifically for lodging operators. Alexa for Hospitality has all the out-of-the-box features of a standard Amazon Echo with the potential to customize property-specific capabilities. For example, you can work with a third-party tech specialist so guest requests can be routed directly to your management systems and entertainment providers. That means, in addition to playing music and searching the internet, guests can also request housekeeping, find the WiFi password, ask about services and amenities and so on.

The biggest differences between personal Amazon Echos and the ones designed for hospitality have to do with security. For your guests’ privacy, hotels will never have access to search queries or answers and the history is wiped daily. For your own security, the devices cannot be factory reset and only connect to your property’s WiFi (to dissuade theft).

Facial recognition

The final tech trend we’re going to touch on, facial recognition software, is a technology that is definitely in the beginning stages for the hospitality industry. But given its ever-growing impact in our daily lives, facial recognition will only become more prevalent.

For check-in >> Marriott International just launched a pilot program at two of their properties, Hangzhou Marriott Hotel Qianjiang and Sanya Marriott Hotel Dadonghai Bay, that uses facial recognition software to offer a faster and easier check-in experience for their guests. Self-check-in kiosks scan guest faces, verify their identity against existing ID and booking information, and dispense the appropriate room keys.

For a personalized experience >> Facial recognition software can also be used to help deliver a more personalized experience for your guests. When they walk into the lobby, the technology can recognize the guest and automatically display their profile to staff, allowing them to greet the guest by name.

As technology changes, so do the expectations of consumers. Make sure you’re keeping tabs on emerging trends, so you don’t get left behind. And click here to read about how VR, chatbots, and robots are being used in hospitality today.

Four Considerations for a Seamless Check-In Experience

As tech solutions have transitioned to cloud-based systems, the concept of the hotel lobby has suddenly become amenable to a complete restructuring. Without a reliance on bulky legacy systems, front-desk staff are no longer tethered to the front desk. Equipped with a tablet, they can move freely around the lobby to engage with guests in a more personable and authentic way. It’s a freedom that has resulted in a new, living-room-inspired trend for hotel lobbies. And it’s a hit with guests—who get to ditch the line and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee on the couch as they’re being checked in.

For properties using cloud-based technology, empowering front-desk staff with tablets should be taken into consideration. And once you’ve made the change (or if you already have), here are four features and products to make check-in even more seamless for guests and staff alike.

A wireless EMV card reader

Most hotels have already made or will soon be making the switch to an EMV card reader. As the standard in credit card security, these terminals are becoming a must-have. There are many options out there, but not all of them are created equal. When looking for an EMV reader for your property consider opting for a wireless version. There’s no reason to tie your staff down with wired terminals when you’ve just liberated them with tablets. A wireless card reader can be carried around by front-desk staff so guests can remain comfortably seated during the entire check-in process.

Electronic signature capture

Creating an efficient check-in experience is all about simplicity. And a PMS with electronic signature capturing technology makes signing receipts and registration cards as simple as possible. Guests are able to sign on the tablet screen, allowing staff to ditch the paper and pens altogether. In addition to making check-in faster and cheaper (no printing or paper costs), electronic signature capture is an environmentally friendly alternative sure to improve your property’s ecological impact.

Keycard interface

Typically, front-desk staff must manually enter information into a keycard writer in order to program a key at check-in. For hotels transitioning away from a traditional front-desk, this can be a bit of a hassle (as staff certainly won’t be carrying card writers around with them). But it’s a hassle easily alleviated with an interface between your keycard writer and your PMS. As you’re checking the guest in, the PMS will send all the necessary information directly to the keycard writer. When the check-in process is completed, the staff member can simply retrieve the card and deliver it to the guest—no manual entry required.

Document scanner

Filling out guest profiles can be a bit of pain. Of course, if the booking is made online, guest information will have already been input. However, when hotels get a walk-in, they need to enter the customer’s name, address, and other information. It’s a time-consuming process susceptible to manual errors. With a document scanner, like the one from TTI Technologies, front-desk staff (and guests) are spared this inconvenience. The customer simply provides a piece of identification (driver’s license or passport), and the scanner will use it to auto-fill their guest profile.

 

Checking-in is the first in-person experience a guest has at your property. You should be doing everything you can to make it a good first impression. With new cloud-based technologies and mobile devices, hoteliers are better equipped than ever to provide a quick and easy check-in for their guests. So make sure you’re using all the tools at your disposal!

 

Beyond the Bedroom: Hotel Design Trends for 2018

Today’s savvy nomad has realized that the hotel experience is an integral aspect of travel. Hotels are no longer merely the place of a morning departure and evening return, the place to shower and sleep, the place just to hang one’s hat; many guests expect their hotel to be an experience and an extension of its locale. Services and amenities continue to be important, and a beautiful space is essential, but travelers are increasingly choosing and returning to hotels based on ambiance. In other words, how your space feels is as important as what your hotel offers. Many recommend that a hotel create a home away from home, and that’s certainly important in the sense of comfort. A hotel should aim to be as comfortable as a home, but shouldn’t it offer more ease? In a sense, a hotel’s space should aspire to feel like the ideal home.

Rethink Ambiance

Travelers have eclectic tastes and strong expectations; still, it’s possible to enthuse them with unexpected features. The details of these features will depend on the brand you want to portray and story you want to tell – and make no mistake; ambiance tells a story. Decor continues to trend towards minimalism; however, simplicity can be executed in many ways. Some are choosing to mix neutral colors with soft blues, greens, and yellows. Others showcase one bold color – like a deep blue, red, or purple – set against softer creams and whites. Still others include urban art (like graffiti) as a striking visual statement. Mix and match tones, textures, and styles to produce unpredictable and engaging results.

One of the unique aspects your hotel has at its disposal is… itself. What is the history of the hotel? The building? If newly built, what is the inspiration behind its design? What is the history of the community? Every hotel has a story. Tell it through the traditional mediums of photographs, art, and displays, but also in the furniture you choose and the overall mood you set. Including pieces from local artists and artisans is a great way to tell your and your community’s story, and can also give your guests a unique glimpse at local ways of seeing the broader world.

This year many hoteliers will also rethink the function of their spaces.

Lobbies >> Front desks are increasingly being replaced with sit-down concierge desks where guests sip on coffee or wine while the check-in is conducted by staff with iPads. The lobby is your guest’s first interaction with a hotel’s physical space. It should be inviting, not pragmatic. Many hotels already have cafes, restaurants, or bars connected to their lobbies. Others are thinking beyond those mainstays, incorporating specialized bookstores, galleries, and libraries into their lobbies, opening a space for community members and guests to interact.

Rooms >> How often do guests use all the drawers in hotel rooms? Or hang a full closet of clothes? If your hotel caters to short stay visitors (and most do), the trend in room design is moving towards simplification with furniture designed especially for hotel rooms, including wall racks for hanging clothes, bed frames that enable a guest to slide their luggage underneath, and nightstands that double for desks. This trend is particularly appealing to hoteliers in urban markets where square footage is limited. Simplified furniture lends a spacious feel without needing as much space. Also, by designing variations in layout and differences in decor (through wall treatments, rugs, and lighting), hotels are increasingly providing a more distinct, fresh, and memorable experience, one that guests will be inspired to relive.

Incorporate Nature

Including natural elements in hotel design is not new in 2018, but it has recently gained a new name, and with that comes a whole philosophy for rebuilding a relationship between humans and their environment. Biophilic Design will be on many designers minds this year. Biophilic Design seeks to remedy the discord between our lifestyle (especially urban) and our innate desire to connect with nature. Designers with this mindset aim to integrate buildings into their surroundings, incorporate natural elements like large plants, wood and stone, and maximize natural light. In a hotel’s communal spaces, designers are incorporating vertical gardens and multi-level terraces. At resorts, room sizes are decreasing to make room for larger balconies and verandas. In urban and rural hotels alike, expansive windows enable the local foliage and panoramic views to become part of a room’s ambiance.

The Human Spaces report into the Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace suggests that having a view of nature can trigger a dopamine response, and that contact with nature “has a restorative effect,” reducing stress and contributing to overall well-being.  Designing spaces that incorporate elements from nature encourages an emotional connection with our environment, which will not only provide a sense of experience in your guests but also contribute to the productivity of your staff.

Embrace Technology

We crave more interaction with nature and people, but we’re also not willing to relinquish our electronic devices. Hotels should design bedrooms, boardrooms, and communal spaces that allow guests to stay connected.

Designers are creating clever ways to hide charging stations and preserve the décor of a room. Seamless doors in desks or nightstands open or lift to reveal USB ports and electrical outlets, enabling the modern guest to quickly plug in for work or play. Other designers are creating innovative ways to incorporate ports and outlets into the design of their headboards and other pieces. Hotels are also providing ports to enable guests to connect to their own media (Netflix, Apple TV, Google Play and YouTube) to watch their own content on the bigger screen. This is especially attractive for families who desire immediate access to cartoons and other programming for their young children, but many of us live in a world where we’re used to having our media at the tips of our thumbs. Offering access to our own media is one more way to offer the comforts of home, and offering access through innovative designs has the potential to elevate those home comforts.

Hotels are continuing to adopt smart technology like solar panels and personalized tablets to control room temperature and room service, but hotels are also ushering us into the future by embracing dynamic design features like wallpaper that changes color or pattern based on light and temperature. The hotels that deliver the most memorable experiences in 2018 will fuse innovation, design, and storytelling with comfort, leaving guests to return home to tell not only of their adventuring in your community, but of the experience they enjoyed throughout your hotel.

 

Five Habits of a Successful Hotelier

Whether you’ve been running a hotel for decades or are brand new to the game, reflecting on your practices as a hotelier is always a valuable exercise. Nobody’s perfect, but taking the time to consider your methods, and making improvements where you can, will get you pointed in that direction. Curious if you’re doing everything in your power to help your lodging operation prosper? Read on to discover five habits of a successful hotelier.

Focuses on communication

Hospitality is an industry about people, which makes communication particularly important. It’s not just about being professional and engaging with your guests, but also being open and approachable with your employees. A hotel staff is a team, so everyone is (and should feel) valuable. Great hoteliers have safe, open lines of communication with their employees, offer regular feedback, and often involve staff in decision-making. A healthy company culture will directly affect the experience you provide for your guests.

Knows their customers

It’ll surprise no-one that prioritizing customer relations is essential to finding success in the hospitality industry. But it’s not just about having genuine in-person interactions with your guests (although that’s certainly important!).  Great hoteliers go above and beyond by learning about and keeping track of who their customers are as individuals. With a powerful PMS or CRM, it’s possible to log details about returning customers’ interests and preferences to surprise and delight. Is a guest consistently traveling on business? Throw in free Wi-Fi or offer recommendations for comfortable workspaces. Do you know a customer’s birthday? Send them a quick email wishing them a happy day. Personalized experiences make guests feel appreciated, and go a long way in nurturing loyalty.

Assesses the competition

Lodging operators have a lot of competition. But instead of seeing that as an obstacle to overcome, successful hoteliers use it as a means to make their operations better. Make a routine of checking out competitors’ websites, social media platforms, and physical property. What are they doing well? Where could they improve? Noticing patterns across successful operators (or similarities between unsuccessful ones for that matter) can offer critical insights which may prove exceedingly beneficial for your own business.

Keeps their head in the game

Even when their property is running smoothly, great hoteliers don’t get complacent. Hospitality is an ever-changing arena, and it isn’t good enough to simply play defense. Read articles and network with other professionals to stay on top of new trends, changes in the market, and emerging technology. And be proactive about evolving and improving your business. It’s important to set long-term goals and construct a step-by-step action plan to realize them. The most successful people (and businesses) are never satisfied merely resting on their laurels.

Recognizes the role of technology

There is a lot that technology can do for a business, and a good hotelier embraces that. Property management, reputation management, and revenue management software are only a few examples of what’s available to help streamline operations and maximize revenue. And let’s not forget the marketing potential of social media platforms. A hotel that shies away from all new technology misses out on some unbelievable opportunities to improve their business.

Now, that’s not to say you should be adopting every new system that crops up. Every business is different, and using tech for tech sake doesn’t do anybody any good. What makes an hotelier successful is their open, yet discerning, consideration of new technology that becomes available.

It’s never a waste of time to reflect on your habits as a business owner. If you’re looking to improve your practice (or are just starting out and need a few tips), consider adopting these five strategies of highly successful hoteliers.

Future Tech Trends to Start Thinking About Now

Remember when robots and virtual reality were fantasies of the distant future? Well, that’s not the case anymore. We’re currently living through a very exciting time, where the technology previously unique to our favorite science fiction movies is being realized. It seems like new tech is popping up every day and it’s hard to keep up. So here are a few hospitality tech trends of the very near future for your property to get ahead of, in order to start planning for the guests of tomorrow.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) technology has been around for a while but has only just begun to really take off commercially. With a new wave of VR products becoming available, a myriad of possible applications are being proposed and the hospitality industry is no exception. Everything from sales and marketing to a guest’s on-property experience can be enhanced by VR technology.

Currently VR headsets are a bit of a novelty, but as more people begin to use them there will be huge marketing opportunities. Prospective guests could take virtual tours that showcase the unique charm of your property and diversity of available amenities. The effect, size and scale of a space are much better understood through an immersive VR experience than a slideshow of photos.  A well done VR tour could be just the thing to boost your sales conversion rate and turn more browsers into bookers.

Offering VR technology for entertainment (think in-room games and videos) as well as guest information (perhaps offering an overview of hotel facilities or nearby attractions) could also improve customer satisfaction and set you apart from the competition.

Chatbots

Ever interacted with a chatbot? Chances are yes (even if you didn’t realize it). Chatbots are artificial intelligence software (like Siri) that are programmed to engage with people in an interactive manner. With Facebook Messenger (which boasts one billion active users!) embracing the technology last spring, tens of thousands of chatbots have been created and brands have been working on integrating the technology into their sales and marketing strategies. In fact, 80% of businesses have expressed intent to roll out chatbots by 2020, which means you might want to consider jumping on board in order to stay current.

Chatbots have a wide array of possible applications in the hospitality industry. To start, a well programmed chatbot on your property’s website can help usher prospective guests through the booking process. A chatbot can ask for further details about the booking and navigate the guest to the appropriate pages, all while answering any inquiries about the property. Having a chatbot engage with potential customers in real time should help reduce booking abandonment online.

The use of chatbot technology does not end at the booking form. Once a reservation has been made, chatbots can be used to engage with the guests pre-arrival as well as on-site. Before a guest arrives at the property, a chatbot can instigate conversation to offer additional booking options and amenities. On-resort, chatbots can be used to answer basic questions and update guests on facility availability (freeing up time for front-desk staff to attend to more important matters).

Robots

No talk of future tech is complete without mentioning robots, and just like VR and chatbots, they are on the brink of becoming the new normal in hospitality. In fact, a few properties have already introduced their first robots. Most notable of these include Henn-na Hotel in Japan, which is manned almost exclusively by robots, and The Ghent Marriott Hotel in Belgium, whose robot employee, Mario, has become a local sensation.

The robotics company Savioke produces a delivery robot (known as Relay) which is currently being tested by a number of hotel properties. When a customer requests delivery of food or goods, a hotel employee places the appropriate items inside Relay. The robot then navigates to the appropriate room, calls the guest to inform them of the delivery, and returns to its charging station. In addition to increasing efficiency and freeing up valuable time for staff, Relay is also a novelty that delights guests and is sure to end up on their social media pages.

Eager to cut down on workplace injuries? That was the inspiration for Maidbot after CEO Micah Green realized that housekeepers have one of the highest injury rates in the hotel industry. The robotics company’s first product, Rosie, is designed to clean all types of floors in order to reduce the workload of housekeeping staff. Pilot programs with major hotel companies are currently underway, so keep your eye out for this cool, cost-saving robot!

 

The hospitality industry is all about maintaining a competitive edge, so it’s important to stay on top of industry trends. VR, chatbots and robots are on the horizon.  Start thinking about how they will affect and enhance your business now, so you aren’t playing catch-up tomorrow.

Did You Know? WebRezPro Allows You to Create Allocated Rates

The hospitality industry is all about offering unique and superior services. That’s why we work hard to ensure WebRezPro Property Management System has the flexibility required for you to go above and beyond for your guests. Do you have negotiated rates with corporate accounts? Consider using the Allocated Rates feature in order to simplify the booking process for your corporate clients.

What are Allocated Rates?

Allocated Rates allow you to take rooms out of inventory—without booking them—and offer them exclusively to a selected corporate account, for a particular period. This allocation allows you to guarantee inventory for this company during the desired period and allows you to designate a release date after which they lose exclusive rights to book the allocated rooms. It is a more-general form of group allocations, useful for those cases where you are making many allocations over extended periods of time for one company.

How to Setup Allocated Rates

To set this up click “Rates,” then “Negotiated Rates.” Navigate to the “Options” menu and select “Create allocation.” Fill out the name and descriptions of the rate as normal. When you get to “Choose allocation method” you can select whether you wish to allocate specific units or just certain numbers of a unit type. Once you make a choice here, you should setup this rate as normal, making sure to select the corporate account of the company you want to give access to this rate under “Rate access” in section #1.

Once you save and click the back arrow, you then need to click the “Allocation” link next to the rate you’ve just created. From here, click “Add an availability entry” and choose the first dates you want to allocate.

If needed, choose a number in this menu: “Number of days prior to arrival that allocation is released.” This selection is the date after which the units become available for public bookings.

Then, in section #2 choose how many of each unit type you want to allocate. Or, if you are allocating specific units, highlight those room numbers you want to include. Hold down “Ctrl” on your keyboard (or “command” if on a Mac) while clicking, to select multiple rooms.  Then save, click the back arrow, and click “Add a day entry.” You will then be able to add the price as usual.

You now have an allocated rate. You can add other allocations for other dates on this rate by clicking “Add an availability entry” and repeating the process.

 

The Allocated Rates feature is a great way to handle negotiated rates with corporate clients, without worrying about leaving rooms unbooked. For further questions, please contact Support.

Hospitality Technology Trends to Implement in 2017

Here we are — 2017 — the whole year ahead of us! Ready to make it a good one? Perhaps you have already made some New Year’s resolutions, some of which might revolve around increasing the success of your business. For hoteliers and other lodging operators, technology is making operations more efficient and successful with every passing year. Here are the hospitality technology trends we feel are most important to put into action in the year ahead.

System Integration (and Data Consolidation)

Integrating core systems further automates processes and is key to maximizing efficiency and consolidating data.

At the heart of operations, your property management system (PMS) can be connected to other core systems such as CRM, online distribution channels, revenue management software, point-of-sale systems, payment processing software, and phone and entertainment systems, to greatly speed up tasks such as managing distribution, guest check-in and check-out, managing reservation folios, building rich guest profiles and sending targeted guest communications.

When core systems share relevant data automatically, the need to manually duplicate data across systems is eliminated, significantly cutting administrative workload and improving data accuracy and timeliness.

What’s more, integrating your PMS with other hotel systems helps bring the right data together at the right time, making information more accessible and actionable.

For example, integrating the PMS with guest engagement tools such as CRM software, guest marketing platforms, loyalty programs and mobile apps empowers lodging operators with enhanced guest insight to personalize the guest experience. When these systems talk to each other, rich guest profiles are automatically created, using data collated across systems that goes beyond simple stay history to include guest requests, preferences, travel motivations, receptiveness to promotions, feedback, etc. Armed with this kind of intelligence, lodging operators have to power to personalize service and target communications much more seamlessly and effectively.

Among other advantages, system integration is a significant motivation behind the shift from on-premise to cloud software in the hospitality industry. Built on common Web standards and open APIs, cloud software is designed with cross-application communication in mind, making integrating your core hotel systems easier and cheaper than it’s ever been.

Mobile PMS

The ability to access data on-the-go via a mobile device is another driving force behind the move to cloud hospitality software.

A mobile PMS can have a significant impact on the guest experience; with guest and reservation data at their fingertips via a tablet or smartphone, hotel staff are freed from the physical constraints of the front desk to provide more prompt and personalized service to guests wherever they may be — in the lobby, the hallway, by the pool or in the dining room.

Increasingly in demand, paperless check-in with electronic signature capture allows guests to sign registration cards or check-in receipts on a tablet or smartphone screen. Paperless check-in means arriving guests don’t have to queue at the front desk; they can instead be greeted in a more welcoming way in the lobby or lounge. And the savings in paper not only helps a hotel’s bottom line, but the planet too.

Another much-appreciated feature of a mobile PMS is mobile access to housekeeping reports. This simple feature greatly improves productivity by allowing housekeeping staff to update room housekeeping status directly to the housekeeping report via their mobile device in real time as they work.

Direct Bookings

While OTAs dominate the online hotel booking scene, hoteliers are becoming more focused on the quest to increase direct bookings. There are a variety of tools available to help lodging operators improve direct conversions and, as the year unfolds, we imagine more and more properties will be engaging them.

First, there are the aforementioned guest engagement and CRM tools such as Guestfolio, Constant Contact, Revinate and Twilio. Such platforms help properties collect and make sense of comprehensive guest data to deliver highly targeted guest communications that help turn customers into loyal direct bookers.

Revenue management software (RMS) is becoming more critical as pricing rooms becomes even more complicated. Finding the right price hinges on numerous factors; in addition to seasonal fluctuations, market demand and room type features, rates are increasingly based on more fluid variables such as channel, weather, events, competitors and even guest data and loyalty. Dynamic and personalized pricing is becoming a powerful strategy in winning direct business and more and more lodging operators will recognize the enormous value in automating this process to ensure they remain competitive in an increasingly competitive market.

Properties that are slow to adopt a mobile-friendly direct booking engine will find it hard to keep ignoring this must-have feature in the year ahead. The way we shop has forever changed as consumers look to the Internet to research and buy whatever and whenever they want. We make decisions based on a series of spontaneous yet intent-rich micro-moments, enabled by mobile devices. Therefore, providing a consistent and seamless user experience across devices (desktop and mobile) is a must for all businesses wanting to attract, convert and retain customers.

Going back to our first point, integrating certain key systems goes a long way in boosting direct bookings; your PMS, RMS and CRM make a powerful team.

Mobile Messaging

Last year we heard about the success big brands were having with mobile messaging to communicate with customers, and this year we think more and more independent properties will follow suit.

From simple SMS text messaging to social media apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, mobile messaging is fast becoming the preferred quick communication method of our time. Hotels are finding that mobile messaging, when managed correctly, enhances customer service and boosts customer satisfaction and loyalty.

With a focus on service rather than marketing, mobile messaging can be used to confirm reservations, welcome guests to the property and let them know their room is ready, support concierge services, promote relevant ancillary services, receive special requests and to thank guests after check-out.

A variety of messaging platforms are available to hotels, from the aforementioned SMS text messaging and social media apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger etc.) to dedicated hotel mobile applications such as Twilio, Alice and Checkmate.

In-Room Technology

While we don’t think independent properties need to go as far as trialing voice-controlled guestrooms (as Starwood’s Aloft brand is doing) just yet, it is important to ensure your guestrooms are equipped with current technology your guests expect.

Cable TV just doesn’t cut it anymore; today’s guests are looking to stream their favourite shows to (high-definition flat-screen) TVs from streaming services such as Netflix via smart TV technology or casting devices. But in order to pull this off successfully, properties must equip guestrooms with reliable high-speed Internet access. These days most hotels already offer in-room Wi-Fi, so the focus now is on making it as fast as the guest’s connection at home.

Keeping your property’s technology current is key to remaining competitive. If your property’s systems are hindering rather than helping guest service, productivity or revenue, make this the year to upgrade.

Hotel Royal Oak

Hotel Royal Oak is located in Royal Oak, Michigan, and offers 52 guest rooms and a host of amenities including free WiFi, complimentary parking and premium satellite television. The hotel is just a short 7-minute walk to downtown Royal Oak’s vibrant Entertainment District! Hotel Royal Oak started using WebRezPro Property Management System last June, but has recently launched a new website and started using WebRezPro’s integrated Web reservation software on it so they can now take online bookings.

Muang Kulaypan Hotel

The Muang Kulaypan Hotel in popular Ko Samui, Thailand, is a spectacular 42-room beachfront hotel that offers guest rooms and suites designed with a blending of contemporary and Asian design that boast a host of modern amenities! All rooms and suites surround the expansive landscaping of the Muang Kulaypan central gardens, swimming pool and stretch of golden sand as the shallow cool waters of Chaweng Beach lap against the shoreline. This hotel has just started using our cloud-based WebRezPro Property Management to help with their day-to-day operations. You can see WebRezPro’s integrated Web reservations software in action on their website. 

[button color=”#ffffff” background=”#ff8000″ size=”medium” target=”_blank” src=”http://www.kulaypan.com/”]Visit Website[/button]

 

The Quick Guide to PMS Integration

With so much innovation in today’s technological cloudscape, system integration (otherwise known as system interfacing) is not only key to maximizing operational efficiency but to staying current and competitive, too.

Integration has always been a fundamental characteristic of hotel property management systems (PMS). Converging core hotel departments, from sales to front desk to housekeeping to accounting, the PMS serves as a central point of control, eliminating the need to manually consolidate information between departments by automating and integrating processes.

PMS have also long interfaced to external systems like POS, electronic locking, call accounting, PBX, in-room entertainment, the GDS and OTAs, allowing these systems to talk to each other (share relevant data) in order to automate cross-system processes and improve efficiency property-wide. Now, as the hospitality industry increasingly operates online, PMS are also called to integrate with online reputation management systems, guest self-check-in apps, digital marketing software and online channel managers.

System integration allows you to streamline operations across your entire property by assembling the individual vendors that best serve your specific requirements — the best PMS, the best payment processor, the best online distribution channels, the best revenue management system — all working together to form a grand management machine. At the heart of hotel operations, it’s essential that your PMS plays nicely with vendors across the industry.

While integrating legacy systems has always been a complex and costly task, cloud hotel software, which is progressively built on common Web standards and open APIs, is designed with system integration in mind. So say goodbye to manually duplicating data between your PMS and other hotel software — it’s now easier and cheaper than ever to unite your property’s various systems for optimal efficiency and guest service.

PMS INTERFACES (In Alphabetical Order)

Call Accounting Systems – When a call accounting system is interfaced with a PMS, call charges are automatically applied to the correct guest folio, eliminating the need to add telephone charges to guest folios manually and ensuring accurate billing.

Digital Marketing Software – Interfaces between digital marketing tools and the PMS can save lodging operators time in their marketing efforts by automating management of guest communications. The interface allows the PMS to send live reservation information directly to the digital marketing system for automated pre- and post-stay email communications, special offers, electronic surveys and even personalized eConcierge platforms.

Electronic Locking Systems – With this interface, keycards can be encoded and managed through your PMS, which automatically sends relevant information (eg. room number, length of stay) to your electronic locking system. There’s no need to enter this information manually into your locking system – all you have to do is click a button and swipe the keycard to encode it.

Energy Management Systems – Interface your energy management system with your PMS to pre-condition guest rooms upon guest check-in and automatically switch to energy-saving mode upon check-out. This automation not only saves time, but money too, as lights, heating and air conditioning are turned on and off in a timelier fashion, conserving energy even further.

GDS, OTAs & Channel Managers – Direct integration between PMS and online distribution channels is a big time saver and helps to maximize online revenue. The interface allows GDS/OTA inventory, rates and reservations to be controlled directly from within the PMS — the PMS automatically pushes designated inventory, rates and availability to the channel, and reservations made through the channel are automatically sent to the PMS, with availability adjusted accordingly. No more precious time spent on manually updating reservations data across channels and the PMS.

In-Room Entertainment Systems – Interfacing your in-room entertainment system with your PMS is very useful for automatically posting pay-per-view and Internet charges to guest folios, eliminating the need to do it manually and helping to minimize guest-disputed charges.

Payment Gateways – Reducing the steps required to process card payments, and eliminating keying errors, this interface securely facilitates credit card acceptance through the PMS. Integrating your PMS with a payment gateway removes the need for a stand-alone credit card terminal and speeds up the check-in/check-out process.

PBX & Voice Mail – Integrate your PBX and voice mail systems to your PMS for effortless management of internal communications. A PBX/voice mail interface can automate such processes as activating and deactivating guestroom phones and voice mail upon check-in and check-out, and clearing voice mail greetings and voice messages upon guest check-out.

POS Systems – A PMS-POS interface automates the process of posting restaurant tickets or shop/spa charges to guest folios, improving accuracy and efficiency. The POS queries the PMS in real time to verify guest status and room number and then automatically posts the charge to the guest folio.

Reputation Management Systems – Reputation management systems help properties manage their online reputation and social customer service by monitoring social media and increasing review volume, among other important functions. By integrating your PMS with your reputation management system, the process of requesting and posting guest feedback via electronic post-stay surveys can be completely automated.

Revenue Management Systems – Direct integration between PMS and RMS (revenue management system) automates the process of updating dynamic pricing to the PMS, greatly simplifying yield management. Here’s how it works: the PMS automatically pushes pricing and availability to the RMS, and the RMS automatically updates accepted recommended rates in the PMS.

Self-Check-in/Check-out Terminals – Self-check-in terminals or kiosks allow guests to check themselves in or out, pay their bill, and maybe even choose their own room. As a guest-facing extension of the PMS, integration with your property management system really goes without saying.

You don’t have to be the middleman between your hotel systems — contact us to find out more about the 60+ interfaces WebRezPro PMS offers.